Mid-South Day Trip Idea: The Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop

Ed. Note: Here's a guest blog from historic preservationist Kelsey Lamkin, who took a day trip on the Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop. 

Like most of you, I stuck close to home this past year. I’ve walked every street and explored every alley in my neighborhood, wearing down the sidewalks along with my neighbors hoping to flatten the curve. And now that more people are vaccinated, myself included, I am more than ready to expand my travel radius and venture a little farther from home!

Because I love history and wanted to enjoy some backroad scenery, I looked to the Rural Heritage Trust for their Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop. 

I started my trail at Millington’s Edmund Orgill Golf Course, about a 30 minute drive northeast of Memphis along U.S. Route 51. I followed the trail through the small communities of Rosemark, Kerrville, and Barretville, and I spent about an hour from start to finish. Of course, the total time will depend on how long you spend at each stop! I ended at Barretville General Store, still only a 30 minute drive from Memphis. 

trees and grassy knoll at Edmund Orgill Golf Course
Kelsey Lamkin
Edmund Orgill Golf Course

This is the first of many planned trails that will promote our region’s historical, cultural, agricultural, and natural resources. Two wayside exhibit panels (informational signs) were unveiled along the Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop on April 24, with more to follow this summer.

There is something for the whole family to enjoy on the Heritage Loop. Here are the five stops I made along the trail. Consider this your guide and preview of the fun waiting for you!

man fishing at park
Kelsey Lamkin
Fishing at Edmund Orgill Park

1. Edmund Orgill Golf Course

The first stop on the Loop is the Edmund Orgill Golf Course. County-owned and open to the public, this 18-hole course is perfect for every skill level. The rolling hills and nearby Casper Lake will help you get back to nature. The course was also listed among Golf Advisor’s Top 25 Most Improved Course List for 2016!

girl swinging golf club
Kelsey Lamkin

2. Edmund Orgill Park

The Edmund Orgill Park is adjacent to the golf course, and you can enjoy it after golf or later as you finish the Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop. The park spans over 268 acres and has a boat ramp, disc golf course, fields for football and rugby, and covered pavilions. I saw families fishing and relaxing next to Casper Lake when I visited, and I am absolutely going to make another trip in the future to do some reading by the lake.

pier with lake at Edmund Orgill Park
Kelsey Lamkin
The lake at Edmund Orgill Park

3. Bethuel Cemetery

After exiting the golf course, you immediately come to the Bethuel Cemetery, established in 1850 by the Bethuel Methodist Episcopal Church South. This may seem like an odd destination for a day trip, but I am a huge fan of wandering through historic cemeteries on nice days.

You can learn so much about community history, local wildlife, and grave iconography, and I think more people should make use of these spaces. After all, these were our first public parks! The earliest graves are from the late 1800s, and the cemetery is still in use today.

historic cemetery
Kelsey Lamkin
historic cemetery
Kelsey Lamkin

4. Rosemark Telephone Exchange Museum

Another favorite site, the Rosemark Telephone Exchange Museum is part of the Rosemark Historic District. The Telephone Exchange opened in 1911 and the building currently houses a museum. The museum is open Fridays from 12-2, but those interested in visiting outside of these hours can call Lee Henwood at 901-491-7130 or email him at [email protected]. I

f you want to peek through the windows, raised platforms have been erected around the building for a better view! While admission is free, donations are graciously accepted, as 100% of donated funds are used to acquire and preserve other historic properties! Most of the buildings in this district date to before 1940, and appreciators of rural farm buildings will especially love driving through the area. 

historic telephone museum
Kelsey Lamkin
historic building
Kelsey Lamkin

5. Barretville General Store

A traveler is guaranteed to get hungry after all this exploring, and the Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop directs you to the Barretville General Store. One of the oldest continually operating businesses in the county, the store offers homestyle meals and homemade desserts, along with locally made goods to take home!

The pizza and beignets are supposed to be the best in West Tennessee, and I heartily agree. It also has picnic tables outside so you can enjoy the rural beauty, complete with roosters crowing at you nearby.

historic general store
Kelsey Lamkin
historic general store shelves
Kelsey Lamkin
girl in red shirt having picnic in a park with a tree and two benches
Kelsey Lamkin

For those of you wanting to enjoy the backroads and see new sights, I highly recommend experiencing the Rosemark-Kerrville Heritage Loop for yourselves. There are plenty of additional sites to check out from one stop to the other, and the country road views are unbeatable. If local legend and history is your thing, check back in with Rural Heritage Trust as they deliver more well-researched trails along our region’s most beautiful locales.

About the Author

Kelsey Lamkin is the Historic Preservationist and Tourism Specialist at Memphis Area Association of Governments. The rural tourism campaign, West Tennessee Day Trippin, is all about exploring the back roads and small communities outside of Memphis. To learn more, go to westtndaytrippin.org or follow on Instagram at @westtndaytrippin.

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Frank McCalla

Kelsey,

Thank your for the great pictures and narrative. I grew up in Rosemark and have made that loop many times, sometime on a school bus. 
Best regards,

Frank

 

June 15, 2021 12:17am